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Sebring: Touring Car qualifying report

Kleinubing Takes Sebring SPEED Touring Car Pole SEBRING, Fla. (March 13, 2008) -- Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., captured his record 32nd-career pole and will lead the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car field at...

Kleinubing Takes Sebring SPEED Touring Car Pole

SEBRING, Fla. (March 13, 2008) -- Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., captured his record 32nd-career pole and will lead the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car field at the standing start Friday during the 56th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Presented by Fresh From Florida weekend at Sebring International Raceway. Teammate Kuno Wittmer, of Montreal, Quebec, will start second.

Kleinubing initially believed he qualified his No. 43 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX second with a time of 2:21.047 (94.436 mph) around the 3.7-mile circuit, but post-qualifying technical inspection revealed that provisional pole winner Seth Thomas' No. 38 BimmerWorld BMW 325i was out of compliance in ride height, disallowing his times and moving Kleinubing to his record-tying third SCCA SPEED Touring Car pole at Sebring.

"I'm happy to be starting from pole," Kleinubing said. "Obviously it's where you want to start the race and I've won this race from pole before, but I've also done well starting farther back.

"I feel bad for Seth. I've been in his position before, but I'll take the qualifying points."

Wittmer, who paced practice on Wednesday in his No. 44 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Acura TSX, turned a fastest lap of 2:21.309 (94.261 mph) to start second. Team owner Peter Cunningham made it a RealTime Racing top three, with a lap of 2:21.702 (94.000 mph).

"I'm not worried about having Kuno and Peter starting behind me," Kleinubing added. "I'd rather have my teammates there than anybody else."

Nick Esayian might have made it a RealTime top-four sweep had he not switched to BimmerWorld this season. The No. 34 BimmerWorld BMW 325i driver will start fourth, entering a time of 2:22.582 (93.420 mph) in qualifying.

Jason Martinelli, of Roxbury, Conn., was provisionally shown in fifth following qualifying, but the rear-wing on his No. 8 Goodhill/Torrington Supply/Litco BMW 325i did not past post-qualifying inspection and he was sent to the back of the grid. Instead, the No. 97 Mazda North America/Tindol MAZDA6 of Chip Herr, from Lititz, Pa., will start fifth, the highest placed Mazda on the grid.

Charles Espenlaub (MAZDA6), Dino Crescentini (Acura TSX), Jeff Altenburg (MAZDA6), Michael Galati (MAZDA6) and Glenn Bocchino (Acura RSX) completed the top ten.

Round One of the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Championship will launch from a standing start at 11:05 a.m. (EDT). Live timing and notes are available at www.world-challenge.com

-credit: scca pro racing

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